Optical Fiber Microfluidic Sensors Based on Opto-physical Effects
Microfluidics has been extensively investigated for biological and chemical applications such as biomolecule detection, drug screening, chemical synthesis, and analysis. The fusion of microfluidics and photonics has given birth to an exciting new area, optofluidics. Optofluidics could further broaden the application and extend the functionality of microfluidics. When a laser irradiates into a microfluid, opto-physical effects may happen due to the strong interaction between light and liquid. Such opto-physical effects have great potential for optofluidic applications. In this chapter, the optical fiber optofluidic (OF2) sensors based on the opto-physical effects, including laser-induced force (optical force), and photothermal effects are introduced. One unique advantage of these sensors is the fabrication process that is very simple and cost-effective. Based on the opto-physical effects, a cleaved optical fiber is good enough to perform high-performance sensing, which is much simpler than microstructured optical fibers or micro-fabricated structures. The optical forces and photothermal effects in microfluidics are not only crucial for sensing applications but also promising for sorting cells or particles and for developing optofluidic devices.
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